Marketing Association Amsterdam

Guest Interview: Jenny Coolen from Jacobs Douwe Egberts

Hello Jenny, thank you for taking the time to speak to our MAA-members,jda1 and helping us learn more about Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE). For the clueless people among us, could you tell what JDE is?

Of course! I’m happy to tell you about JDE. About a year and a half ago we started operating under the name Jacobs Douwe Egbers. This was a merger of Douwe Egbers Master Blenders and Mondelez International. We have beautiful brands in the coffee and tea industry that go way back, and we have ambitions to become the biggest global player in the coffee and tea market. Many of our brands you would probably know, as they are well-known brand in the Netherlands like Douwe Egbers, Pickwick, L’or, and Senseo. Speaking globally, we have many more brands that are not being sold in the Netherlands. In summary, we are one of the biggest companies in the coffee and tea industry worldwide!

Thanks for this introduction! What was the biggest change when you merged a year and a half ago?

We are now much more internationally oriented. Before, we were active in a couple of countries, whereas now we are one of the biggest international players. In more than 80 countries people are enjoying our multiple coffee and tea brands. Furthermore, we are number 1 or 2 in approximately 18 countries in Europe, South-America, and Australia.

And how are the different coffee brands positioned among each other?

Our vision is, “everyone deserves the coffee that he or she loves.” We focus on quality, diversity, and accessibility. So in our view, everyone should find the coffee that he or she is looking for in the supermarket, always, and everywhere. In the Netherlands we have different coffee drinkers, for example some people love filtered coffee, whereas others appreciate coffee pads. There are different kinds of people and we try to focus on all these different target groups. So if you like coffee, we always have something for your preference.

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Are your various brands competitors of each other?

Not really, our brands do not compete that much. Often people that drink coffee, enjoying drinking different coffee on different occasions. A very high quality cup of coffee made from fresh beans for a moment of luxury is very different than an ordinary day of drinking a cup of fast Senseo. It depends on the moment, and what people’s preferences are.

What does the coffee and tea industry look like?

This industry is developing fast. Nowadays, many small players are joining the game. Not only in supermarkets, but also coffee to go is gaining popularity. With all these new developments and a growing market it is very important for us to keep distinguishing ourselves. Therefore we keep our focus on quality but also on innovation.   

Okay, and how do you see the future of coffee and tea? Sometimes it looks like nobody is drinking regular coffee anymore with many new and exotic flavors, how do you see this development?

I understand that it sometimes looks like that is the case. Only these developments are regionally determined. In the West and in the bigger cities, coffee on the go and special flavors have gained popularity over the years. But in the North, the coffee trends are still quite traditional, with more filtered coffee for instance. These are trends we try to adapt to, so that we can serve every target group most effectively.

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What do you expect to be a challenge for JDE in developing markets?

With many smaller companies joining the coffee and tea industry it will be a challenge for us to keep distinguishing ourselves. We are one of the oldest and biggest companies in this industry, but the challenge is to ensure people keep finding us in the expanding supermarket shelf.

Could you tell us something more about the job opportunities at JDE?

Of course! With us you apply for a position, but also this year we have a new graduate program. You still apply for a position but there is also a position which you hold during your four year education course. In this program you experience different positions and you will receive experience in different aspects in the company. For this program we are looking for people who have finished their master’s, but what we have also found very important is that you can show a broad interest outside of your study. Such as committees, boards, internships, experience abroad, or volunteer work. If you are interested in our graduate program you can find all our applications online on: https://www.jacobsdouweegberts.com/nl/careers/your-international-career/netherlands/. Here you can apply for different positions and from there you can enter the graduate program.

We are also always looking for students for internships. This is a good and easy way to have a peek into the JDE-life. We do have many marketing-internships, but also for different interest I can advise you to take a look! Furthermore, we have a masterclass this year in May. We start promoting for this in the end of January, also a great opportunity to make a contact within JDE.

Is it easy to switch positions inside the company?

Yes, we are particularly looking for people that are not afraid to switch positions from time to time. People that like working in different disciplines, for example from marketing to sales or from retail to professional. We really try to stimulate this with our graduate program. This way someone can develop inside the company more broadly.

Are there also international possibilities?

Certainly, the international possibilities are growing fast. We encourage our employees to take the step to go abroad. This is something that is not compulsory but it is possible on your own initiative.

Thank you so much for this interview. It was very interesting to learn about JDE and the career opportunities within the company . Do you have any advice for future marketers?

Go and explore many companies. Orientate yourself and see where you feel at home. I also think a good internship can provide valuable insights. I strongly advise everyone to invest in something like that. That way you can find out what you truly want, where your powers are, and if an organization is a good fit!

Interview by: Suzanne Bohlander

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